New Media Models

One of the things I tell students to do like Chicagoans vote — early and often — is to Google themselves. You need to know what’s out there about you so you can control the public presentation of yourself when it’s time to look for a job. I demand students clean up their online acts well before potential employers may be lurking around as faux Facebook friends looking for reasons to dump half the stack of resumes they’ve got. I Googled myself and found this YouTube clip. It’s raw footage from an interview I did with some of my Oregon State University students on the impact of new media on the election of President Obama:


What Kind of Tech User Are You?
The Pew Internet & American Life Project asks this in a quiz you can take to get a sense of where you fit in the tech spectrum.
Here are my results:

You are an Digital Collaborator
If you are a Digital Collaborator, you use information technology to work with and share your creations with others. You are enthusiastic about how ICTs help you connect with others and confident in your ability to manage digital devices and information. For you, the digital commons can be a camp, a lab, or a theater group – places to gather with others to develop something new.”

To all of my students: What are you?

 There is a lot of discussion about the impact of social media on journalism and what role it could/should play in ‘real’ journalism. Those of us who are teaching media in the midst of this revolution are thinking and talking a lot about how and what to teach while riding this often precarious wave. TED Talks, one of the best resources for exploring all kinds of important, timely topics, offers a wide range of thoughtful lectures examining all sides of social media in their series “Media with Meaning.” In his talk, ‘How Social Media Can Make History,” Clay Shirky argues:  

“While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.”

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History

In his talk, “When Social Media Became News,” James Surowiecki argues the 2005 tsunami transformed social media forever. Check it out:

What do you do with trolls – those seething anonymous online commenters who post useless rantings in the comment section of blogs, news websites, anywhere they can. What is to be done? Newspapers have a long history of selecting which members of the public have their opinions made public. The job title was “Letters Editor,” and that person literally went through hundreds of letters from readers and selected a wide range to publish. They confirmed the writer’s identity and intent to publish and made agreed-upon changes with the guidelines of the paper.

Well, that was quaint. Now it’s every troll for him/herself out there, spewing whatever bile they want. Heated discussions ensued about how to balance community standards and free speech. Does having access to a computer give you the right to free speech anywhere you want to spit? If your local college newspaper allows cursewords does that have an impact on what comments the larger newspaper should allow? Do racists have a ‘right’ to rant? What about grammatically disasterous comments? Do people have a ‘right’ to embarrass themselves? 

All great questions forced upon us by the medium transforming the message — and the masses. Media are responding to commenters in different ways. Some have stopped comments entirely. Others try (often in vain) to monitor and make decisions case-by-case. The Portland Press Herald dropped reader comments. Period. See what you think:

  Portland Press Herald Drops Reader Comments in Response to ‘Vicious Postings’
Posted by Damon Kiesow at 10:48 AM on Oct. 20, 2010
The Portland (Maine) Press Herald has shut down its reader comments section in response to what its publisher describes as “vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings.”

Damon Kiesow reports in his excellent Poynter column today the ravages of trolls. New Media means we can’t silence hateful letters (and thus their hateful authors) by tossing them into the circular file. With all that hate, who has time to go through hundreds, if you’re lucky, thousands of comments to weed out the toxic ones. And who decides what crosses the line? Kiesow’s piece explores this and lists the policies of a variety of publications, exposing our field’s emerging efforts to manage this particular Pandora’s Box.

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Codes of Ethics for Bloggers and Journalists
In media, many decisions must be made at split-second speed. If we have an ethical framework to use, if we’ve already had these discussions and know our limits, if we’ve explored case studies and learned from our industry’s mistakes, we are in a far stronger position to make good, just, fair, accurate and ethical decisions as these situations arise.
There are numerous conversations going on about how to deepen and strengthen ethics in media. Here are some Blogging Code of Ethics

Journalist Code of Ethics

The Poynter Institute: The Ethics of Posting Mug Shots

Ethical Lapses This Year

Ethics Resources and Articles

Twitter and beyond in the newsroom and beyond

10,000Words Twitter in Newsrooms and Beyond

Advancing the Story blog

Using Twitter in Newsrooms

LA Earthquake chokes cell phones, not Twitter

How Social Media Works in Disasters

How Twitter Saves Lives in Natural Disasters

Newsrooms use Twitter

In this Poynter Online post, Mallary Jean Tenore explores what the Daily Show is and does. One exam question I always ask students is: Is Jon Stewart a journalist? Cite specific examples to defend your answer. Here’s a heads up for students:
‘Daily Show’ Producers, Writers Say They’re Serious about Media Criticism

Posted by Mallary Jean Tenore at 6:55 AM on Nov. 17, 2009 “Daily Show” producer Ramin Hedayati spends his morning flipping back and forth between the “Today Show” and “The Early Show,” glancing at major news sites and political blogs and reading The New York Times. When he gets into the office, he scans through news shows recorded on the office’s 13 TiVos and looks for glaring inconsistencies, misleading reports and humorous soundbites.

While watching Sean Hannity’s coverage of an anti-health-care-reform rally at the Capitol last week, he knew something wasn’t quite right. “I remember saying to myself …’There couldn’t be a more beautiful day for this rally.’ Then all of a sudden it went to cloudy footage,” said Hedayati. “Hannity used footage from Glenn Beck’s 9/12 rally to make his rally look bigger … We were surprised that no one else caught it.”

Hannity responded last week to the show’s uncovering of the inconsistency, saying the video switch-up was an “inadvertent mistake.”

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